One of Britain’s leading cancer charities has issued an appeal for volunteers to help patients and their families at a new specialist centre in Brighton.
Macmillan made the appeal as it prepares to open the Macmillan Horizon Centre on a site next to the Sussex Cancer Centre which is at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
The charity said: “As the opening of the Macmillan Horizon Centre approaches, the newly appointed managers are appealing for volunteers to help them run it and support the people who will use it.
“The Macmillan Horizon Centre, when it opens in April 2016, will offer all-round support for people affected by cancer in a calm, friendly and welcoming environment so no one in Sussex has to face cancer alone.
“This includes providing information, advice and quality resources, advice about welfare benefits and finance, psychological support and counselling, complementary therapies and many other services.
“Located opposite the site of the Sussex Cancer Centre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, the centre is a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, Sussex Cancer Fund and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH).”
Centre manager Geoff Brown said: “I‘ve worked for Macmillan for over four years and have been very involved in the development of the Macmillan Horizon Centre, in particular liaising with people affected by cancer to make sure the services at the centre properly reflect their needs.
“I am very excited that the centre will soon be open. Volunteers will play a vital role in the support that we will be able to offer.
“Volunteering has been a focus of my working life and I look forward to connecting with a wide group of volunteers in a broad range of roles to provide vital support to people affected by cancer.”
Mr Brown, who lives in Eastbourne, was born and grew up in East Africa and has spent much of his working life overseas.
He taught English as a foreign language in China and Australia and then spent 16 years with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in China and the Philippines.
He joined VSO’s London headquarters where he managed a youth volunteer programme. He was then appointed head of volunteering development, responsible for building new international programmes and developing opportunities for young people to give their time.
He became chief executive of Hastings Citizens Advice Bureau after eight years commuting from Eastbourne. The CAB job enabled him to spend more time with his family. He moved to Macmillan four years ago.
Michaela Rossmann is the centre’s volunteer co-ordination and support services manager.
She said: “It’s my role to make sure that volunteers are at the heart of the centre and that we offer services to support people affected by cancer and their families.
“I’ve worked for Macmillan for nearly two years and thoroughly enjoy being part of this amazing charity.
“I’ve worked and volunteered with local organisations and am very excited about the centre which will provide lots of opportunities to get involved, give something, learn new skills and most importantly support people affected by cancer and their families across the whole of Sussex.”
She studied social work in her native Italy and worked in the mental health sector for a while before deciding to volunteer abroad.
She taught English in a Sri Lankan orphanage, supported disabled children and their families in Peru and volunteered in a South African school for children with HIV. Not surprisingly, travel is one of her passions.
Inspired by these volunteering experiences, she came to Brighton to do postgraduate studies in social development at Sussex University and has lived in the city ever since.
Macmillan said that volunteers would play a vital role at the new centre and were needed in the following areas
- information and support , the first point of contact for visitors
- complementary therapy, providing a range of therapies such as massage, reiki, aroma and relaxation therapies
- psychological support and counselling
- face, skin and nail care, helping to manage changes in appearance after cancer diagnosis and treatment
- hair and wig stylist
- café service and food preparation, diet and nutrition advice
- admin support to help with the smooth running of the centre
- physical activity, offering people affected by cancer the opportunity to build their confidence
- recruitment and selection support
- social media support
Further details can be found on the Macmillan website at www.macmillan.org.uk/horizoncentre and there will be an opportunity to find out more at volunteer information events.
Information events are scheduled for Thursday 11 February and Tuesday 23 February at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm at the Audrey Emerton Building, in Eastern Road, opposite the Royal Sussex.
To book a place or to find out more about volunteering at the centre, phone 01273 468770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.